18-year old filmmaker and budding actress Emma Malouff spoke to The Untitled Magazine about her first recurring co-star role in Ryan Murphy’s series “Impeachment: American Crime Story.” She plays Allison Tripp, the daughter of Linda Tripp (played by Sarah Paulson) – the woman whose tapes exposed the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington before moving to Austin, Texas at the age of 10, she knew from an early age she wanted to be a performer. Some of Malouff’s passions extending outside of theatrical include working with human trafficking organizations A21 and Exodus Cry, helping to bring awareness to the issues of human slavery, and helping those who have been exploited or are victims of trafficking. Read on for our exclusive with Emma and check out the trailer for “Impeachment: American Crime Story” below.
How did you get into acting?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve found myself drawn to acting and the beauty of filmmaking. From a young age, I would create other worlds and transform myself into characters I saw on screen. I would make films with my friends and run away to the imaginary worlds that swirled in my mind, loving to live in the daydream. For 12 years, I studied Ballet while taking acting classes on the side. I chased the thrill that came with performing on stage, and finally, I realized that it was the acting side of Ballet that I adored so much. So, at 15, I moved to Los Angeles for pilot season and never left, falling more and more in love with the art of acting and storytelling.
Are your parents, who we hear are both Pastors, supportive if your acting career?
My mom and dad are my favorite people in the whole world! When I was ten years old, my family and I moved to Austin, Texas, to start a church. Over the last eight years, we have watched God do miraculous things in our lives, and every day is a new adventure. We now have a beautiful church, City Reach Church, where anyone can come as they are and feel right at home! My parents have never stopped encouraging me, supporting me, and encouraging me toward all that I can achieve. They have shown me and taught me how to dream higher than what looks possible and trust God with my whole heart. Moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting was nothing short of a giant leap of faith, and my mom and dad have stood by my side, supporting me and cheering me on through the whole process. I could not be more thankful for them and everything they have done and continue to do for me.
Tell us about your role in “Impeachment: American Crime Story” coming out on FX?
I had the privilege of portraying Allison Tripp, the daughter of Linda Tripp, played by the impeccable Sarah Paulson, in Ryan Murphy’s Impeachment: American Crime Story. This show casts a new light on a narrative everybody thinks they may know, and I hope that audiences walk away with empathy and a broader perspective for the women of this story.
What was the audition process like for such a high-profile show like Impeachment?
In all honesty, the audition process was one big whirlwind. When I first auditioned for the show, it was February 2020. I had a callback with producers the following month and, three days later, was informed by casting that I was on hold for the project and filming would begin in two weeks. Then, COVID-19 happened, and the industry completely shut down. I went home to Austin to live with my family and had all but forgotten about American Crime Story until October 2020. Casting reached out requesting that I send in some more self-tapes, and those self-tapes turned into several zoom auditions. I was put back on hold for the show. Back in LA, and missing my family, and questioning my decision to pursue acting, I waited to hear from casting for three weeks, and just when I thought I wanted to give up, I got the call telling me I booked the role. Needless to say, many tears of joy were cried that day, and I began filming the following January.
How was working with your onscreen mother Sarah Paulson?
Sarah Paulson is one of the most talented actresses of our time. Having the opportunity to work with her was one of the most incredible experiences of my career thus far, and I will never forget it. Sharing a scene opposite of her was the best acting class I could ever enroll in, and I tried my best to soak up everything like a sponge. She completely transformed into Linda, which inspired me to explore Allison and Linda’s relationship with a deeper lens.
How did you approach the challenge of playing a real-life character?
When this event took place, Allison Tripp and I would have been the same age. 18. In an instant, Allison’s life changed forever, and she had to watch her mother be degraded and ridiculed by the public. I had to step back, deeply feel and acknowledge how she must have felt in those moments, and make it truthful for myself. How would I feel if my mom was bombarded by hurtful headlines and our family’s privacy suddenly stripped away? I had to create those experiences and emotions for myself and imagine the thoughts she must have had running through her head at the time.
How involved on-set was (series creator) Ryan Murphy, and if so, any notable stories from working with him?
I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be directed by Ryan Murphy for one of the episodes. He is so detailed about what he wants out of his actors, a scene, and the audience. He is a true storyteller and pays such meticulous attention to every element that makes up a scene. On the day that I had the chance to work with him, we began rehearsals, and he said to me, “You will see how I like to play the roles of my actors as I set up a scene,” and then proceeded to play his version of Allison, which was a great clue into how I approached the scene. It was an honor to work with him and play a piece in the story he is telling.
How did you find the challenge of shooting the series during the COVID-19 pandemic?
COVID-19 was a new experience for us all, and I could not be more grateful for the incredible Health and Safety team that worked so hard to keep us all safe on Impeachment. It took some time to get used to wearing all of my protective equipment, but like any new situation, you learn how to make the best of it and work with what you have.
How was the experience of actually meeting Monica Lewinsky back in 2019?
I had the privilege of working with Monica Lewinsky on a PSA called “The Epidemic” back in 2019. It is a powerful story in which I play a young girl who is being cyber-bullied by her classmates. Monica is a true inspiration. She is kind, authentic, compassionate, and giving, and she is a powerful voice and advocate for those experiencing the pain of bullying.
As a young actress, do you have any personal goals you’re hoping to achieve?
Pursuing this career is one big endless adventure, and I am looking forward to all that is in store. I am so thankful to my team and family for their constant support and guidance and for encouraging me to chase after my aspirations. I have dreams of owning my own production company as well as directing and writing my own films. I am excited to be a part of more projects that are filled with wonder, excitement, humanity, and a touch of movie magic that transports audiences to another world.
Tell us about your work with human trafficking organizations A21 and Exodus Cry?
In our modern world, Human Trafficking is tantamount to slavery. By some estimates there are over 40.3 million men, women, and children illegally exploited for their bodies and labor. These staggering numbers mean there are more people enslaved today than any other time in history. It is a mostly clandestine and often very violent problem that needs to be solved. Through awareness and education, I believe we can all rally together to put a stop to Human Trafficking. That is why I raised money for the A21 Campaign, an incredible organization fighting against this slavery, by hosting tea parties for young girls and their moms. At these tea parties, I would educate these girls on the pitfalls of Human Trafficking and how to recognize the signs of trafficking in others. We made bracelets as conversation starters to raise awareness among our peers. Exodus Cry is another organization that does amazing work for survivors, and I hope to shed a spotlight on what they do through my social media platform.
You recently moved to Los Angeles – how does it compare to your experiences in Austin, Texas?
I have loved everywhere that I have lived. Los Angeles is a beautiful city with exciting opportunities, and I love that the oceans and mountains are just a drive away. I have made so many beautiful friendships in LA that will last a lifetime. I love Austin because my family and church are there. I love the comfort of home and the eclectic city that keeps growing and growing. Some of the best years of my life have been lived in Austin, and I am so thankful for all of the people that are a part of my life there.
Anything else we can look out for in the near future for Emma Malouff?
I can hardly wait for what is coming next, and so keep your eyes peeled. I have a project in the wings right now, but you will just have to wait and see!
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